Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday offered his condolences to the families of the martyred soldiers at Galwan valley and underlined that the events in Ladakh are of “grave concern” not only for the nation’s strategic interests but also have “far-reaching global geo-political ramifications”.

In a statement, Mukherjee stressed that while the situation has to be successfully diffused and contained, it also has to be ensured that all avenues are explored so as to avoid any repetition in the future.

Mukherjee — who held post of the country’s defence minister and as President, was the Supreme Commander of the armed forces — further said that the “soul of the nation is bruised”.

He said the issue needs to be addressed satisfactorily by the entire political class through a bipartisan consensus, the onus of which, the former President said, “lies mostly on the Government” by taking various stakeholders including the armed forces on board.

Pranab Mukherjee added that “it is for the Government of the day to ensure that nothing but our national interests are kept supreme”.

An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan valley at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh on Monday night with Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army.

As many as 20 Indian Armymen including officers were killed in the face-off while the the Chinese side is learnt to have suffered over 40 casualties including dead and seriously injured.

India on Wednesday, in a strong message, told China what happened in Galwan valley was “pre-meditated” and “planned action” by Beijing which was responsible for the sequence of events.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also on Wednesday said that “when provoked, India is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation,” and the country won’t tolerate any misadventures when it comes to defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation,” PM Modi warned China.